Memoirs of A Gaming Geisha

Anne Feld, Senior Editor

Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea and I said to you, "That afternoon when I met so-and-so was the best afternoon of my life and also the worst afternoon."

Arthur Golden's bestselling novel Memoirs of a Geisha starts with those words, and I can't help but think of how they apply to my life, and the moment it intersected with Lara Croft.

The afternoon I first saw Lara in action on a Mac was a great moment in time for Mac gaming. Announced around the same time as the iMac, it was part of the beginning of what now seems like a tsunami of renewed commitment from developers and Apple to the Mac as a gaming platform. It was followed by the introduction of the new G3, an excellent gaming machine, the announcement of the re-release of many much-loved arcade titles, and most recently, the release of the Connectix Virtual Game Station, allowing G3 owners to play titles developed for Sony's console game platform. But as for Lara Croft, like everyone else, I have a hard time getting past her breasts.

They have become a fact of gaming life. And while I'm happy to see a strong, smart and sexy action hero for the Mac, and I love the game, I wish that the weight of her breasts didn't seem to equal to the rest of her own body weight, proportional of nothing. I guess I wish it didn't take a bombshell to break the mold.

There's been a lot of progress made by women in the computer entertainment field behind the scenes at Apple, at the various gaming magazines, and within games themselves. Bungie is developing Oni, an anime style martial arts/cop game with a female protagonist. You can elect a female hero in MacSoft's Lode Runner 2 and Unreal, in Ambrosia's Metroid, you find out in with win screen that the hero seems to be a woman. It's a start. Definitely.

But no one has received as much attention and adoration as Lara Croft and her twin-wonders. And while the attention is good, I'm not so sure about the focus.

I guess I'm just waiting for the day that we get super-endowed male action heroes, or at least a hack-code that enables us to see them run around naked, like you can in Tomb Raider II. Actually, no. I'm waiting for the day when super-endowed female action figures seem as ridiculous as seeing their male equivalents that way. Somehow I think I'm going to be waiting an awfully long time.

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